day 2. part 3.
I did not catch the name of the next kiosk we hit, but hot damn - Asahi from Japan… it takes me back to every single other time i’ve been in Japan, beat-up from flying/touring/playing: then poof- a wash of goose-bumpery-euphoria; and all my worries are gone (not that i had any thanks to all the aforementioned delectables.
I loved the tables; the vibe. The menus were Japanese characters with little pictures and the yen-prices; it was such a chilled place: the happiness of a street meat bonanza all under the roof of a multi-storied building, with the loud roar of people just living and having a great time.
The salad (i don’t often see too many salads in japan) was sesame and pepper dressed. The pepper flavor was so powerful and so fantastic (my wife’s family are pepper freaks: hence - creating me into one). I don’t think i’ve ever had a dressing that solely focused on the flavors of intense pepper so much. On to the meat!
The first batch of meat was something our server said was the best thing on the menu. The delicate greens and onions (scallions too) and salty fried meat was juicy and fantastic. Duck heart was offal-tastic and simple. Okonamiyaki! One of the greatest creations on earth. Apparently everywhere in Japan does it differently… but the rivalry of Hiroshima style vs. Osaka style goes on like Chicago Pizza vs. NYC Pizza; like Varg Vickernes vs. Euronymous. (I love it all… but for Mama, i’d say Hiroshima style wins.) This was like hiroshima style… but smaller (the big ones took 30 mins, and we had some drinking to do after dinner). Okonamiyaki has so many great things happening in it… it’s a batter on the top and bottom, cooked on a massive flat teppanyaki-style grill typically; it can be stuffed with really whatever you want. This one had shrimp and sprouts inside, japanese mayo and okonamiyaki sauce and dried fish flakes on top. This beast won. Best dish of the night.
I was curious on Japan’s cocktail scene (since the cocktail scene is something so popular in the food spots in the USA, and now budding out a bit in the FL-scene) Koji ordered me a Shochu-sour. Shochu Japanese booze, some carbonated water, and lime. Simple. Delicious. Lime is a thing of beauty. (Back when my dad would take me to metal shows every week at the House of Blues, Orlando, since i wasn’t drinking age- for some reason i would just eat lime wedges. I don’t know why… but i know my dad is a big citrus flavor fan: that must be where i inherited my love for all citrusy, lemony, limey flavors. My cocktail-brewing-buddies back home would have flipped over the Shochu-sour.